Shaped by the Word
In Shaped by the Word, by Robert Mulholland Jr., one finds a way to read scripture in order to provide a deeper understanding of God and allow His Word to shape one’s spiritual life. In the Introduction, in chapter 1, the reader is introduced to the idea that there is a movement in the church that seeks to become deeper and stricter in spiritual formation. He claims there are many books written for this purpose, and his intending purpose for this book is for God to use however he may want in the reader’s spiritual life. Mulholland provides the reader with a prayer to pray in preparation of reading this book and states there may be points where God is knocking and calling the reader’s attention to something new.
In chapter 2,
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Next, the author focuses on what scripture as the Word of God means. First, he explains that scripture is God’s interaction recorded in human history. Second, it is the revelation of the Word, as the author says, in context of human brokenness and human wholeness. Mulholland then refers to John Wesley’s instructions for early Methodists as he says, for as we read scripture, we should do so with prayer to understand through the same Spirit in which gave it. In the following chapter, Mulholland asks the reader to join in a prayer before reading the chapter in which he entitles Information versus Formation. He then starts into the difference needed today for people to read Scripture with “holy reading” instead of informational reading. He states some characteristics of informational reading and why it is unhelpful in one’s spiritual reading of Scripture: first, being the reader reads quickly to obtain the data, second, he calls it reading linear, third, he says the reader try’s to master the text, fourth, he says the reader try’s to manipulate the text to suit one’s self, fifth, he says the reader is analytical, critical and judgmental of the text, and lastly, he states the reader reads to find out something that works for one’s self. After listing the characteristics of informational